The city of Valenzuela is straddled between the border of Metro Manila and its nearby province, Bulacan. For its residents, this means having the best of both worlds: city living and the opportunities that come with it, while having an easy escape from the bright lights with rural Bulacan just a stone’s throw away. Before it became a city, Valenzuela was formerly part of Bulacan. Even before that, the city also played an important part in the Philippines’ quest for independence from its Spanish colonizers. Explore the city’s past and its present with our top 10 best things to do in Valenzuela.
1. Take a lesson in history: Dr. Pio Valenzuela Ancestral Residence
The city got its name from one of its great sons, Dr. Pio Valenzuela, a young medical doctor and the leader of the Philippine revolutionary movement, the Katipunan. Dr. Valenzuela was born and raised in this town, which was formerly called Polo. According to the history books, Valenzuela was part of the triumvirate that led the movement, which included Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto. Valenzuela was in charge of the revolutionary publication “Ang Kalayaan” where he wrote several articles under his nom de plume. The house where he lived and died still stands to this day, on Veliilla Street in the village of Pariancillo Villa. Visitors, however, may be limited to view the house from the street as the premises is off-limits to the public.
Dr. Pio Valenzuela Ancestral Residence
Address: Velilla Street, Pariancillo Villa, Valenzuela, Metro Manila
Duration: around 1 hour required.
Access: The house can be reached on foot but, can also be reached by riding a tricycle, a three-wheeled public utility vehicle commonly used as public transport within the city.
2. Visit the city's first established museum: Museo Valenzuela
The Museo Valenzuela is the first museum established in the city. It features a permanent exhibit of memorabilia from Dr. Pio Valenzuela’s life, as well as a doll diorama of important life events of the town’s son. Aside from this, the museum also serves as a venue for cultural and artistic events in the city, such as the yearly arts festival and seminars on history teaching. The museum is open to the public from 9am to 4pm.
Address: Fatima Avenue, Marulas, Valenzuela
Price: no admission fee indicated
Opening Hours: 9am - 4pm. Everyday.
Facebook: Museo Valenzuela
3. See the city's first Catholic church: San Diego de Alcala Church
The first Catholic church that was established in the city is the San Diego de Alcala Church, through the efforts of Father Juan Taranco and the barangay head of Polo, Don Juan Monsod. It was completed in 1632, which makes the church almost four centuries old. During the Japanese occupation, the church was destroyed by bombs, but the bell tower and a part of the front entrance remained. To this day, the belfry and the arched entrance serves as a reminder of the grand church that stood here. A new church was built next to the ruins.
San Diego de Alcala Church
Address: 098 M.H. Del Pilar Road, Poblacion, Polo, Valenzuela City
Price: no admission fee
Access: The church is located in the center of the city.
Contact: +632-292 0965
4. Visit the city's boundaries: Arkong Bato (Stone Arch)
Called Arkong Bato, which means “stone arch,” this monument marks the boundary of the city with another city, Malabon. When it was built in 1910, during the American colonial period, this was still part of the national road that passed through the town of Polo (the old name of Valenzuela). During that time, Polo was still part of Bulacan province, while Malabon was part of Rizal province. Now, it connects MacArthur Highway with the nearest expressway out of Metro Manila.
Address: MacArthur Highway, Valenzuela City
Price: no admission fee
5. Appreciate local culture: The National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima
The Philippines is a predominantly Roman Catholic country, having been colonized by Spain who brought Catholicism to the islands. One interesting sub-group within the Catholic Church are the Marian devotees or devotees of the Virgin Mary. In Valenzuela, the important place for Marian devotees is the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. It houses one of the original images of Our Lady of Fatima blessed by Pope Paul VI. Thus, the church is a major pilgrimage site for Catholics.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima
Address: MacArthur Highway, Bgy. Marulas, Valenzuela City
Price: no admission fee
Opening Hours: Mass schedules: hourly 6am - 8am; 6pm - 6:30pm Mondays - Saturdays; 5am - 10am; 5pm - 7:30pm, Sundays
Access: Take a taxi and ask the driver to bring you to the Our Lady of Fatima University compound.
6. Go where the locals go: The Valenzuela City People's Park
Being part of the urban jungle that is Metro Manila, Valenzuela City used to lack spaces for leisure. The city government, in 2014, conceptualized the Valenzuela City People’s Park as an urban community park where families can enjoy a day outdoors. Located in the city center, where the government offices are, it provides outdoor leisure activities to the public. Opened in 2015, it houses an interactive fountain, a children’s park, an area for outdoor group exercises, a giant chess board, gazebos, picnic grounds, and a mini-zoo. Locals frequent the place, so visitors will likely be drawn to it, too.
Valenzuela City People's Park
Address: Manila N Rd, Valenzuela, Metro Manila
Price: no admission fee
Opening Hours: 5am - 12am. Everyday.
Access: Located in the city center, you can walk to the park from the local government office.
Contact: +63-999 876 8976
7. Shop and dine: The new Valenzuela Town Center
The Valenzuela Town Center is a relatively new development. The new mall is located near Valenzuela People’s Park and offers dining and shopping for locals and visitors, alike. Unlike the usual high-rise malls found in Metro Manila, the Town Center is sprawling and offers a lot of space to walk around, shop and choose from the many restaurants. The Town Center is a joint venture project of the city government and the private corporation Megabuild JPG.
Valenzuela Town Center
Address: Cecilio J. Santos St, Valenzuela
Opening Hours: 10am - 9pm. Everyday.
Access: The Town Center is walking distance from the city government office.
Website: Valenzuela Town Center
8. Go on a food trip: The Long Gun Is A Burger Joint
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Foodie blogs are raving about this local burger joint with a strange name: The Long Gun Is A Burger Joint. It carries that name for a reason, though. Aside from serving 100 percent beef burgers, they also serve up burgers made of 100 percent longganisa (a kind of sausage) flavored with lots of garlic. Burgers are made to order so you will need to wait for yours, but most reviews say it’s worth it.
The Long Gun Is A Burger Joint
Address: Philippine Gun Club Road, Marulas, Valenzuela (between KFC and Fatima)
Price: from 1.50 to 2 USD per burger
Opening Hours: 9am - 7:30pm. Mondays to Saturdays.
9. See a cultural performnce at Valenzuela City Convention Center
When in Valenzuela City, make it a point to catch a live cultural performance in the city’s center for the arts and culture, the Valenzuela City Convention Center. This is home to some of the best local performances from the Philippines’ folk dances, local ballet companies, to even art exhibits and concerts. Make a pitstop to this entertainment establishment and get the best of what the city has to offer.
Valenzuela City Convention Center
Address: Pablacion Rd 2, Valenzuela, Metro Manila
10. Grab some delicious grub at Arca Yard Food Park
After a long day of museum hopping and seeing several local attractions, it’s only proper to quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger from all the exploring. Get the best grub in Valenzuela’s food park and get a taste of local cooking from the city’s finest cooks and entrepreneurs. Some of the “hole in the walls” include fusion Japanese Filipino style food like Ooma, Little Osaka, and Norte among others. Take part in their weekend wine nights and experience a few local and international wines brought into the metro. End your travels and make one more amazing memory when traveling to Valenzuela City.
Arca Yard Food Park
Address: 286 Mc Arthur Highway, Karuhatan, Valenzuela 1441 Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: Arca Yard Food Park
Opening hours: 4:00 PM to 1:00 AM, Sundays to Thursdays; 4:00 PM to 2:00 AM, Fridays to Saturdays
Value the past but work for the future
Valenzuela City is the epitome of a city that values its history and takes pride in it, while at the same time, builds on its heritage so that it can move forward. Come and visit the city and see how modernity and history can blend together.
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